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Malema's EFF declares 'war' to remove South Africa's finance minister

10 October 2018

South Africa's former finance minister Nhlanhla Nene looks on ahead of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry probing state capture in Johannesburg, South Africa October 3, 2018.

Treasury spokesperson, Jabulani Sikhakhane, said the finance minister was expected to arrive in Indonesia on Wednesday.

Tito Mboweni, a former Reserve Bank governor, will replace him.

Nene faced calls to resign after he admitted to visiting the Gupta brothers, friends of the former president Jacob Zuma who have been accused of high-level influence-peddling, and failing to disclose the meetings earlier. "I deeply regret these lapses and beg your forgiveness".

He was sworn in at Tuynhuys in Cape Town on Tuesday afternoon immediately after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced he'd accepted the resignation of Nhlanhla Nene.

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"I have made a decision to accept his resignation", Ramaphosa told journalists in Cape Town.

The rand gained 0.9 percent to 14.71 per dollar by 5:25 pm in Johannesburg, reversing an earlier decline of as much as 1.4 percent on the news.

Zuma and the Guptas have denied any wrongdoing.

"If Ramaphosa wants to retain credibility in terms of his "anti corruption" drive, he has got no option but to let Nene go", said Susan Booysen, a political science professor at the University of the Witwatersrand's School of Governance.

Malema had threatened on Sunday that streets protests might be organised to demand for the removal of Nene as finance minister.

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Nene said he believed he was sacked because he refused to "toe the line" on projects, including a since-abandoned deal for nuclear energy, that may have benefited the Gupta family and other Zuma associates.

The finance minister apologised on Friday for his visits to the Gupta family, who are placed at the centre of the state capture allegations. The nuclear project was eventually shelved.

Apart from serving as Reserve Bank governor, Mboweni also served as labour minister under late president Nelson Mandela.

In a separate issue, a South African newspaper reported last week that Mr. Nene's son, Siyabonga Nene, had sought financing from a state agency, the Public Investment Corporation, at a time when his father was the senior government representative on the PIC board. It said Nene's conduct in meetings with members of the Gupta family had been "unethical conduct of lying and misleading the public about his relations with the Gupta criminal syndicate".

Nene was born on December 5, 1958, and appointed finance minister on February 27, 2018.

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Malema's EFF declares 'war' to remove South Africa's finance minister